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Genuine Progress Index for Atlantic Canada Indice de progrès véritable - Atlantique From Wellbeing Indicators to GPI Accounts Genuine Progress Institute.

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Presentation on theme: "Genuine Progress Index for Atlantic Canada Indice de progrès véritable - Atlantique From Wellbeing Indicators to GPI Accounts Genuine Progress Institute."— Presentation transcript:

1 Genuine Progress Index for Atlantic Canada Indice de progrès véritable - Atlantique From Wellbeing Indicators to GPI Accounts Genuine Progress Institute Halifax, NS. 6 July, 2011

2 Why go beyond indicators? Good indicator work of past years lays necessary ground. But is that enough? The side streets and the highway GDP is not an indicator, but an accounting system. To challenge its power and dominance, we must enter the world of economic valuation

3 Nothing changes behaviour like price signals. E.g.: SUVs and oil prices (vs envtal movement) Smoking and taxes (vs health messages) – youth smokers 15-24,

4 Till we take aim at perverse messages of existing accounting system, nothing will change A/c GDP-based accounting: The more fossil fuels we burn, more trees we cut, the better off we are Losses out of sight, out of mind: Local farms, cod, forests, voluntary work, free time (unmeasured) economic crisis: Consensus on “injection” of “fiscal stimulus” to spur spending and growth. By contrast, recession, reduced consumption = R & R for natural world – dare we say “less may sometimes be better”?

5 Fishery GDP for Nova Scotia, (1997$ millions): Depletion of Natural Wealth as Economic Gain

6 Total Farm Cash Receipts, NS, 1971–2007 (Millions of $2007) = no early warning

7 Expense to Income Ratio (%), Nova Scotia Farms, 1971–2006

8 Total Net Farm Income, Nova Scotia, 1971–2007 (millions of $2007)

9 Total Net Farm Income and Total Debt, NS Farms, (millions of $2007)

10 Indicators and Accounts Indicators assess progress – based on physical measures (e.g. crime rates, GHG emissions). Accounts assess value: -Balance sheets, stocks = assets and liabilities -Flows = what we earn and spend. GPI accounts, unlike GDP, include costs of economic activity, crime, GHG emissions, resource extraction GDP assesses only market flows, treats social and environmental costs/benefits as “externalities.”

11 Accounting/valuation examples: Trends in volunteerism = indicator. Volunteer work contributes $1.8 billion to NS economy = accounts Crime costs NS $700 million + / year Smoking costs NS health care $171 million / year Stern (WB-UK): Compared GHG control costs (1% global GDP) with climate change damage costs (5%-20% global GDP). Concluded: "The benefits of strong, early action on climate change outweigh the costs.”

12 The Capital Accounting Model To assess nation’s true wealth, need to measure the value of natural, human, social, cultural, built, and financial capital. Only the latter two are currently valued but all capital is subject to depreciation and requires periodic re-investment. E.g. forests, health, crime, language, voluntary decline (vs car sector bailout) The good news – we are able to measure and even quantify aspects of the other capitals

13 Predictive power of new accounts Early warning vs “I told you so” (vs ‘expert’ bank head analysis)

14 Examples of policy impacts: NS voluntary work worth $1.8 billion/year -> Premier Preventable chronic disease costs NS $500m in excess health care costs –> DHPP Costs tobacco, obesity, inactivity –> e.g. HRM planning process; smoke-free legislation Full CBAs – e.g. Solid Waste; Halifax Harbour cleanup; HRM transportation

15 Caveat: New GNH accounts do not seek to replace GDP … But replace the misuse of GDP as a measure of progress, wellbeing, and prosperity: Cite Kuznets warnings on proper use of GDP – what is growing Anything can make economic grow, incl. depletion of natural wealth + activities that signify decline in wellbeing, prosperity (e.g. crime, crashes, pollution) Quantitative measure of size cannot assess quality of life, though GDP will always have role in assessing size of market economy – less important

16 Measuring what we value through indicators and accounts to leave a sustainable and prosperous Nova Scotia for our children

17 Genuine Progress Index for Atlantic Canada Indice de progrès véritable - Atlantique


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